Namchi – The Land of High Skies and Gorgeous Views
Situated in South Sikkim at an elevation of 1,675 meters, Namchi literally means ‘Sky High’ in the local Bhutia language. The hill station offers some mesmerizing views of snow-capped Kanchenjunga peaks and the lush greenery of Rangeet River valley. The calm and tranquil panoramic views make Namchi a popular tourism destination.
Some of the top sights to visit in Namchi are:
Solophok Char Dham
Built atop the Solophok Hill, the Solophok Char Dham is a huge pilgrimage complex in Namchi. Spread over 29 hectares, this religious complex was developed by the Sikkim Government to promote Religious, Eco and Village tourism. There is an 86 feet tall statue of Lord Shiva, and replicas of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Shiva and the Char Dham temples of Badrinath, Jagannath, Dwaraka and Rameswaram. It is a must-visit spot in Namchi. The Solophok complex is especially popular among Hindu pilgrims as one gets the opportunity to witness the Char Dham all at one place.
In Bhutia language, Samdruptse Hill translates to 'Wish Fulfilling Hill'. The local monks believe this hill to be sacred, and is thus, worshipped by them. Samdruptse Hill is home to the tallest statue of Guru Padmasambhava in the world, standing at a height of 148 feet. Overlooking the entire town of Namchi, the face of the statue has a gold coating which glitters when the sunlight falls over it. At the base of the statue is a small monastery that houses an exhibition of very old paintings and historic artifacts. There is also a prayer hall.
The Namchi Ropeway facility is run by Damodar Ropeways & Infra Limited (DRIL), one of the oldest ropeway construction companies in India. It operates between Samdruptse Hill and the Namchi Rock Garden, covering a distance of about 250 meters in less than 7 minutes. Tourists can enjoy wonderful aerial views of the Padmasambhava Statue and an up-close view of the Kanchenjunga. This ropeway ride offers you some of the best views you will see in Namchi.
Located at the base of Samdruptse Hill, the Rock Garden of Namchi is home to many different species of flowers, trees and plants. To reach this garden, tourists need to walk down a flight of stairs and cross a paved pathway. The other easy way is to take the DRIL ropeway ride which takes visitors down to the garden and then back up the hill. The Namchi Rock Garden has some rare flowers, walking pathways, benches for seating, waterbodies, gazebo and a children’s playground. Tourists are also offered a magnificent view of the Kanchenjunga.
One of the oldest monasteries in South Sikkim, the Ngadak Monstery was originally built in the 17th Century. It was built during the reign of Chogyal Gyurmed Namgyal as the palace for Her Highness Pendi Ongmu by Tensung Namgyal. The original structure suffered damage during an earthquake, and a new building stands in its place today. The word Ngadak means 'Promise'. Locals believe that anyone who comes here once has to make a promise to come back again. Ngadak Monstery is a peaceful spot for meditation surrounded by natural surroundings.
Serdup Choling Monastery
Located against a scenic backdrop of Mount Kanchenjunga, this quiet and small monastery is about a kilometer away from the town of Namchi. The monastery was built in 1967. Inside the premises, the main temple shrine has three beautiful statues of Guru Rimpoche, Santaraksita and Tri Detson. The monastery features some beautiful wall paintings of Guru Padmasambhava inside, and the exteriors are adorned with white prayer flags.
Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary
The Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife reserve located on an altitude of 10,600 feet which covers an area of about 3500 hectares. The literal meaning of Maenam-la is ‘treasure-house of medicines’ and the sanctuary is filled with medicinal plants and herbs. The sanctuary is also home to different wildlife species like the Red Panda, Barking Deer, Serow, Goral, Leopard-Cat, Marbled-Cat and so on. It also has a rich variety of birds including Common Hill Partridge, Blue necked Pita, Black Eagle, Blood Pheasant, Magpies, and Sunbird. The wildlife sanctuary is also home to Maenam Peak which turns out to be a great place for trekking.